I have an irrational fear of being a traitor to my heritage. This probably stems from an early memory of my grandmother, quite seriously, accusing me of being such when I brought Pepsi instead of Coca-Cola to Sunday dinner. I’d rather not unpack the cultural baggage of that perception, but to this day I remain vigilant of any potential future transgressions.
Now that I find myself living in another country, I try my damnedest to hold on to my roots. I wear my cowboy boots everywhere and carry my Garden & Gun around like a security blanket. I frequently educate friends, coworkers, or anyone who will listen on the joys of country music, college football, and real barbecue. So, it’s with this in mind that I frequently approach writing with some trepidation.
Both my real job and this pretend one require me to write a lot, and while Brits and Americans, in principle, speak the same language, we most definitely do not write the same. Since a British organization actually pays me to put their information out to the public, it’s necessary to toe the line of syntax. I must add U’s after O’s and put R’s in front of E’s. I must replace Z’s with S’s and overcome my love of the Harvard comma.
But, grammar is an insidious little thing. On my own time, when no one is looking, I catch myself writing, for example, of my realisation that I drive across town to the other theatre, because I have a visceral dislike to the closer one’s colour scheme of blue, orange and white.
Oh, the shame! I’m betraying my ancestors who once left this sceptered isle and lost life and limb to bastardize their mother tongue into the one we Americans know and love today as our very own.
Deep down I know I’m a Z-using, U-dropping, comma-before-the-and-adding patriot, and as God is my witness, I’ll never mispunctuate again!
(Well, at least until I have to go back to work.)